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Mercedes-Benz Scores Zero in Consumer Reports. Ouch!

Posted by: David Kiley on March 20, 2007

We all know vaguely that Mercedes-Benz had had some quality “issues.” But whenever J.D. Power and Associates come out with their Initial Quality Study, or some other ranking that shows Mercedes falling, we get the Mercedes spin machine bad mouthing the methodology.

But then Consumer Reports comes out. And it’s ugly if you are a Mercedes fan. You know how many Mercedes-Benz vehicles the magazine recommends? Zip. Zero. Nada. Zilch. The methodology is flawed, you say? Skewed to the lower-end of the car buying public? Then how is it that the magazine does recommend nearly two-thirds of BMWs and 45% of VW-Audi vehicles. CR went out of its way to indicate that a used 1998 LS400 would be a better buy than a 2006 Mercedes ML500. Actually, it says that the 1998 Lexus had fewer problems than last year’s ML, but you get the idea.

Among the least reliable used cars ranked by CR: The MB SL, SLK, CLK, CLS, E Class sedan, R-Class, M Class.

The magazine was also brutal on the new Chrysler vehicles, engineered on the other side of the company. Though, if you pay attention to last year’s Dr. Z campaign, the company wants us to keep in mind that Chrysler’s are engineered by the same company that produces the fine Mercedes-Benz vehicles.

Among the “Most Disappointing” vehicles among the 2007 models based on reader surveys: The Chrysler Sebring, Dodge Nitro, Dodge Caliber and Jeep Compass. CR mentioned five vehicles in this category, and four of them are from Chrysler. Ouch. Among the six vehicles CR said were “Most Impressive” among new 2007 models: Hyundai Entourage, Kia Sedona, Hyundai Santa Fe.

Reader Comments


March 20, 2007 4:43 PM

Yea, this is from the same people that said a vast percentage of child safety seats were unsafe then they had to recant their findings.


March 20, 2007 10:16 PM

Wow....Does someone at CR get paid by BMW?

Michael Karesh

March 21, 2007 3:54 PM

Whether or not Mercedes are reliable, Consumer Reports' methodology is deeply flawed. For one thing, the survey has each respondent individually decide whether a problem is serious enough to be reported. This invites bias.

My main critique of their approach:

Jake Ryan

March 25, 2007 5:28 PM

Karesh, you are quite the clown. Can't spend any time away from chasing down a Consumer Reports related post and promote your own site, huh?

It's amazing that you knock JD Power IQS, yet your site is just like an IQS report. Who cares about 3-month data? It's useless.

You knock CR for its yearly data release. Perhaps when YOU get 1.3 MILLION reponses you might take a bit longer to post the data.

Face it. Your scope/scale of data is tiny. You are a domestic-loving, biased source of information. You worked at GM for a while. Bias right there. You have a tiny data pool, you chase fanboy sites for content (NO bias there!), and all you can do is try and knock CR, since your site is pretty much garbage.


April 7, 2007 5:51 PM

If you never read the opposing point of view, you're the sheep.

1.3 million is only useful if that 1.3 million is homogeneous and represents the average consumer. 1.3 million / ~1500 models and variations / ~8 model years = ~ 108 vehicles per vehicle variation. now consider how many of those are more than five years old.. 108 (on average) is a relatively small sample size.

oh- and the people responding to CR are those who bought their car based on CR in the first place; creating cyclical data. CR is based in conneticut- which represents a rather small portion of the country.

do some research... do you really want to trust a 'consumer reports' which charges consumers to read it?

Mercedes = Junk ???

April 10, 2007 10:20 PM

I can tell you from first hand experience that Mercedes quality has slipped greatly. The most disappointing part is that in direct contact with customer service, the first question they posed was the car properly maintained.

I have a big problem with that - how do you maintain the following (all have repaired/replaced in the last 2.5 years):
- A vanity mirror cover
- Leather covering on the inside door handle, which is coming apart
- 4 light bulbs that have simply blown
- An alternator
- A defective instrument cluster
- A power door lock device
- A recurring (service department elusive) engine hesitation

Despite following the glaring maintenance reminders, these items still failed.

I do not understand how MB can continue denying their quality problems, and expect to fix them. They need do something dramatic and quick. They to 1 or 2 up the Americans and need to bumper-to-bumper cover the cars for 10yrs/100K and grandfather folks like me, so we might consider buying again. At this point, I would not buy another MB.


April 13, 2007 12:51 PM

will any of the japanese,besides mazda,make a retractable hardtop in 2008?

Fred Bunzendahl

October 14, 2007 12:06 AM

Mercedes is in today's market the worst car you can buy. Check the internet for trouble with this brand - it is unbelievable with what this manufacturer is getting away with. I will never touch MB again. My last car spent over 3 month during 3 years in the shop with countless trips to hear: "It's not ready yet" or "waiting for parts". I had it - never again!

Tom Settles

October 30, 2007 1:27 PM

I took in a SLK230 to the local dealer for a service engine light that came on. I picked up the car later that day and paid over $300. I did not get 1 mile away from the dealer before the light came back on. Not having enough time to return to the dealer in the 5:00 traffic, I called them to schedule a return service. Then they charged me another $225 to fix it again. The cars, dealers and service departments are crap!


February 24, 2008 11:00 AM

If my E430 is any example they need to address quality quickly. I love this car to drive. But back window collapses and breaks putting windows down. Radio "computer" in back fender fails ($1800.)Check engine light goes the second time you start after getting gas. (They can't figure out). AT almost $60K it should be as bullet proof as our Acura or Lexus

Jeff Yoder

March 28, 2008 6:18 PM

YES.. Mercedes is junk! I have a 2002 C class (made for a C class citizen..LOL) Only 30K miles and its cheap! The floor mats are like card-board, electical problems galore, No dip stick, trust the oil change, windsheild cracks if the wind blows hard and rides like a Yugo..I could go on and on. What does this tell you??? When you take it to a Mercedes dealership they give you a Ford Taurus as a loner..LOL. I assume there scared they would have to tow the Mercedes they loaned you..LOL.. I'll never be suck'ed again!


June 11, 2008 9:28 AM

This is old news!
Mercedes-benz has cleaned up their act!
MB now makes some of the best quality cars you can buy.

Forget about the 2002-2006 models. It`s 2008, the company has earned the JDPower top honors and has better rattings than BMW Audi and Lexus!

Read about the JD-Power report here--->


July 10, 2008 11:16 PM

Alright Carlton, you want the truth. Mercedes, BMW, Audi, VW, and all other European cars are known for being over-priced, unrealiable junky pieces of metal. Since 1996, Toyota/Lexus/Scion has won the top quality award for all 12 years. I had a Toyota camry for 21 years. When i finally sold it to a guy who bought old cars it had 402,000 miles on it. The only enexpected repair i had was to replace the radiator cap when the engine heat light came on. (I would have noticed it except it was an "idiot" light. It only came on when it overheated.) That was the only repair i did. Then, i recently bought a used mercedes c230 for $21,599 with only 12,498 miles on it. Most cars with that little are like new. NOT MERCEDES!! This piece of junk had the check engine light on within five minutes, a head gasket flew off after 500 miles of easy driving. I had never floored it. The steering column locked up and would not turn, and the engine gave out after 15,000. This hunk of crap in total cost 28,597 in total to repair. (Much more than it was worth) Of course i realized why repair it when i can buy a brand new toyota camry with everything the mercedes had for 24,500 dollars. Do yourself a favor, bring the mercedes to the junk yard and have it crushed. Its worth as much as a murderer's life. Nothing. Go buy a toyota or if you are upper class a lexus. They will last longer than you will live.


December 30, 2008 2:39 PM

Mercedes Benz builds fine luxury automobiles. I should know, I have two MBs,a 2007 C class and 2009 E Class. And isn't it funny how the korean and japanese cars get so much better ratings by CR,I wonder if they are being paid off or extremely biased for some reason. I've had japanese cars before and both my mercedes are much better. They are true quality.


January 22, 2009 10:30 PM

MB has gone to crap since the mid 90's, I should know since I'm a warranty claims adjuster and alot of our clients drive MB. When I get a MB claim from a dealer, I know I'm going to be on the phone for awhile. MB is the only automaker that I know of that has specific names to problems ONLY MB has. It's hilarious! And richard, get real, I do claims for asian, european and domestic, MB is absolutely the worst made auto, with Jaguar second. (sorry Jag owners)


January 28, 2009 10:39 PM

What I would like to know, is if this Corbin has ever had a Mercedes.


January 29, 2009 10:17 AM

I am of the mindset that more and more people need to know how poorly constructed the Mercedes Smart Car is ... which is why I, along with others, created a site called Mercedes Consumer Alert. Please visit the site regularly at


January 30, 2009 5:31 PM

The person who said they were me on January 29 obviously wasn't. I don't know who would do that but they must not realize that people can tell it wasn't me. I am a supporter of Mercedes Benz. I always have and I always will be.

Richard E. Savoy

February 25, 2009 4:21 PM

We've had 10 Mercedes Benz, all but one a diesel. Our experience ranges from 1976 to 2006. We had 240D, 300D, 300SD, 350SDL, S350D, 190D and E350. I can tell you unqualifiedly that Mercedes Benz has elected to throw its name and reputation into the gutter. They have reduced the component content and quality and discarded the engineering that made their cars the standard of an era. The last real Mercedes Benz rolled off the assembly line in 1998. I"m sorry for the people who don't know that, as they will be drawn into paying staggering sums of money in the utterly unfounded belief that they are getting what once the silver star represented. The cars Mercedes builds today compare to what they once built as does particle board to mahongany. I learned a good deal about that company over a period of three decades and am sad to have to make the observations I have. Facts are brutal and the fact is that the company that produced the W116, W126, and the W140 died a frigthful death brought on by a decision Daimler Benz took in 1993-4 to cheapen their product as a result of their being in terror of the Japanese. I've been told by dealers that the cars MB makes today are intended to "hold together" enough to be leased and maybe actually run more or less for a meaningful portion of the lease term, though not all of it. The Daimler Benz company that died in the 1990's would ahve been repulsed by that notion, as am I. I too was once a rabid supporter of Mercedes Benz, but that was in a time when there was something to support.

Richard E. Savoy

February 27, 2009 12:51 PM

We were loyal Mercedes customers, having bought 7 diesels from 1976 through 1996 (240D-350SDL). When the '91 SDL engine began using a quart of oil in 500 miles, we inquired and were told that, unknown to us, but known quite well to MB USA (then MBNA), there was a very serious design defect in the 603.971 6 cylinder engine. We assumed we'd get help from MBNA, but were told, with a smirk, that we were "out of warranty". We were thanked for the opportunity to allow MBNA to confirm its corporate position. The local MBNA representative told me that, were he to help us, "it could get around". Can you imagine MBNA saying that in the 1970's or 80's? Ah, but they were a very different company then.

We will never buy another Mercedes. Mercedes' decision, made in 1993 or so, to become mass producers of plastic junk, has been carried into full force and effect. Have you seen or driven the chintzy E350? Their cars are truly homely now and seem made by high school kids from a kit.

I've seen it written that Mercedes' new cars are eye candy for the nouveau riche who don't know any better. Good luck to them.

Mercedes' decision to toss its name into the gutter does not detract from the splendor and elegance of the company it once was nor from the handsomeness of the cars they once built. The sad fate of Mercedes Benz reminds me of that of Titanic. In its day, each was one of the greatest things in the world. But each made a big mistake, fell, and neither ever got up again. Glorious though Mercedes and Titanic once were, you would not want to be with either of them today.

Richard E. Savoy
Salem, MA.

Richard E. Savoy

February 27, 2009 3:52 PM

When we bought our 1991 350SDL in February 1996, we'd had 6 new Mercedes diesels including the incomparable 1979 300SD, so we bought the used (75,000 miles) W126 black beauty for about $26,000. The car was as handsome and well made as a car could be and came with the luxury that a car costing $58,000 (in 1991 dollars) might be expected to offer. Granted, it was a diesel weighing 3,700 lbs with a 134 HP engine, but it could accelerate quite nicely and really move when it got up to speed. The 208 inch body afforded quite impressive back seat room, great for transporting clients of the private bank trust departments for which I worked.

All this grandeur and Mercedes mystique however was wrapped around the ill-designed 6-cylinder diesel engine, the now infamous 603.971 engine. This is the engine that suffered from a fatal design defect that led to piston rod bending, cylinder deforming, and engine "self consumption". The first signs were massive increases in oil consumption, amounting to a quart in 500-700 miles. In 1999, we took our grievance to Mercedes and were dusted off as if we were flies in the Australian outback. The MB USA representative in New England told us that he couldn't help us, as news of his doing so "could get around". What a comment from the representative of what we later came to realize was a company in steep and irreversible decline.

We wrote to MB Chairman Jurgen Schremp in Germany and got a reply from an MB USA underling who told us that she was pleased to deny our claim for any assistance. The impertinent little twit thanked us for having afforded her the opportunity for MB and MB USA to deny responsibility for the defective engine MB had built and sold for four years. It was clear in 1999 that the end of Daimler Benz and of the cars they'd once built was at hand.

Daimler Benz today builds plastic junk really not worth discussing. The E350, its "jelly bean" shape, chintzy construction, low quality materials and general fragility are impossible to reconcile with the engineering and elegance of the cars MB built in the 1980's and 1990's. Our leased E350's A/C could not be operated in the summer nor could the heated seats in the winter. It had a bicycle spare tire and windshield wipers that couldn't remove the tiniest amount of snow. Rather, they compacted the snow and the nearly useless defroster couldn't melt it, so it would build and build until I got out every few miles and removed the snow by hand.

Everything on our 1991 350SDL worked beautifully. The heater/AC fan motor needed replacing as did the transmission mount. The splendid interior trim, including the wood, had remained intact despite years of exposure to extreme heat/cold.

We had the '91's engine rebuilt by a non-MB mechanic in 2003. The job was OK, but the engine smoked and never ran well after that. The A/C compressor gave out in 2005. I kick myself today that I didn't have that $2,500 repair job done. No, I had to go and commit one of my worst errors of judgment and lease the E350.

The last real Mercedes rolled off the assembly line in 1998. Those who don't know that are free to buy and to have to keep buying or leasing (Mercedes likes that because they can drain your wallet without your noticing it, they hope) car after car.

Some lucky MB mechanic probably picked up our '91 350SDL and it is still running somewhere. Indeed, I think I see our '79 300SD every once in a while on the North Shore of Massachusetts. Will the cheap 2006 E350 still be on the road in 2035 or even 2020? Will World War I break out again? I imagine anything is possible, but I have to tell you that Mercedes is not what it used to be and you'd better know that MB USA looks at the customer as the enemy who has the nerve to stand between them and his or her wallet.

Richard E. Savoy
Salem, MA.


February 27, 2009 5:02 PM

I have seen and driven the "chintzy" E350 because I own one and I can say that it is not chintzy. To be fair, I haven't had a Mercedes before 2007. I've had Audis and Infinitis but not Mercedes. I think, however, that the materials, ride, comfort, style, and quality of Mercedes Benz are top notch. My E350 has leather, heated front and rear seats, COMAND with LINGUATRONIC voice control, AMG 18 inch wheels,4matic, parktronic, a rear sunshade, sunroof, 10 way power front seats, genuine black birdseye maple wood, and many more. The doors are so solid I can't close them half the time. The ride is amazingly smooth. When I accelarate the car doesn't jerk at all. My E350 is a 2009 model as I have said in my earller comments. Maybe the older Mercedes were better, but even if they were, they are stil great cars today.


March 1, 2009 4:01 PM

Richard E. Savoy, you said you had nine diesel Mercedes in your first comment.You later went on to contradict yourself by saying you had seven. Which one is it, or did you make all of it up?


March 5, 2009 12:01 PM



March 5, 2009 5:26 PM

If the E350 has an ugly jelly bean shape to it, then why did you get it in the first place? By the way, I own mine, I don't lease it. My only complaint about the current C class and the 2010 E class is that the dash is not as elegant as it should be. The 2007 C class I have is much nicer. The 2009 E class is gorgeous.


March 29, 2009 4:46 PM

After driving Japanese cars for many years, I bouht a 2007 MB C230 with premium package.

Undeniably, some Japanese cars are made with excellent quality, but in terms of driving experience, my c230 is so much better especially on highways.

The dealer I was dealing with provided excellent services. After I noticed very minor squizing sound from underneath, I phoned the service department at MB. Surprisingly, the service manager told me to bring the car in one hour. My wife brought the car in and the mechanic immediately fixed the minor problem without any waiting. How much more can you ask? My Toyota dealer usually asked me to wait for one week for service!!

Definitely every brand has some haters and lovers. Frankly speaking, it is unfair to exagerate some problems once you have some unpleasant experience.

I love my Benz and will keep this car for many years to come!

Mr. Yoder

April 21, 2009 9:42 AM

There beyond junk! I have only 60K on mine and its a 2002 because it stays in the shop most of the time! The quality, reliability, I would take my chances on a 200,000k Yugo!


June 10, 2009 11:18 AM

I was recently given a flyer by the consumer group that set up It is an eye opener and I recommend that serious folks thinking about buying a Smart car or Mercedes check it out. You can't dispute the fact that the Mercedes resale value has plummeted. Consumer Reports is suggesting alternative cars for those at first attracted to the "Not So Smart Car".


June 20, 2009 2:27 PM

Ron, I did visit the Mercedes Consumer Alert website. Did it it ever occur to you that the people who set up this website might work for a another car brand and are to trying to convince gullible people not to buy Mercedes Benz. Maybe they are just regular people, but who would want to trash another car company the way they did if they have nothing to gain from it? All I know is that I have 2 Mercedes that are excellent cars. I had a 2006 Infiniti M35x and after only 3 years it started to fall apart. The sunroof wouldn't close, the engine made a rumbling sound and I took it in but they said there was nothing wrong with it. Also, the airbag in the steering wheel looked like it could pop out because it had made a crack in the steering wheel. Again, we took it in and they said there was nothing wrong with it. I expected more from a car worth $60 000+. The only reason I'm talking about the Infiniti is because I've had no problems with my Mercedes that is already 2 years old. The other is 6 months old. If Japanese cars are supposed to go forever, then why is my Mercedes more reliable? Maybe MB aren't as bad as those biased paid off people at Consumer Reports say they are.


September 7, 2009 6:08 PM

this is funny, it's true there are Mercedes owners out there and commenting on here about having to be in a shop way too many times.

But I can say the last 5 years of owning a Mercedes-Benz I have yet to visit the shop for any repair. I drive on average 18,000 a year. Condition: A guy walked past and swore this 6 year old car came straight out of the showroom. How reliable is that? A friend of mine who has a '07 Lexus IS250 already has problems for example a sunroof that opens/closes on it's own.


September 26, 2009 1:37 AM

I own and owned S-class mercedes and they are hella sound proof comfy, reliable, excelent luxury style cars. No break downs. Service department are great. For all ppl who are against MB, know that the name says it all! No matter what you say but MB is a class. Arab countries use MB cause they can handle desert and heat, and its a fact. Simple as that.


September 26, 2009 9:26 PM

I own and owned S-class mercedes and they are hella sound proof comfy, reliable, excelent luxury style cars. No break downs. Service department are great. For all ppl who are against MB, know that the name says it all! No matter what you say but MB is a class. Arab countries use MB cause they can handle desert and heat, and its a fact. Simple as that.


May 10, 2010 11:41 AM

Most recently issue that I found, how MB passed the security test to introduce their cars in the US. Not child lock available (at leat in 2007, 2008 models. My neighbor child (2 years old) can openned the door, car running with the window lock. The lucky was that she was in the child seat and she can't not jump out the car. Was a really nightmare. MB representative dealer in says: "You have the responsability for your kids" If those mentioned are passengers "luxury" cars, there a warning in the cars that says "No chids allowed" Pleaseee!


July 22, 2010 12:35 PM

I own an 07 C350 and the only problem I ever had was a light module that was replaced under warranty. The same day I brought it in. The service dept has always been polite quick and efficient. I have close to 50k on it and those have mostly been very aggressively driven miles.MB had problems but it looks to me that they took the steps they needed to rectify them.


August 8, 2010 1:22 AM

I have owned 8 Mercedes Benz sedans over the last 25 years. So, I believe I have some experience concerning their quality and reliability. All of these vehicles had between 260,000 and 310,000 miles on them when I sold them for newer models. I currently own a 1982 300D turbo diesel(268,000 miles)which I plan to keep indefinitely; and my newest purchase, a Certified Pre-Owned 2006 E350 sedan (64,000 miles). There has definitely been a significant decrease in reliability in recent years. For instance, my previous Mercedes vehicles, prior to the E350, never required any major repairs beyond routine maintenance. Occasionally, they would need a new starter, or water pump, or alternator, but nothing major. Unfortunately, in the 13 months I have owned this '06 E350, it has required $7,000 in repairs. To my luck, they were covered by the extended warranty. A few of the problems, for example, was a major engine oil leak. Then, the a/c failed, the brakes started dragging, fake chrome interior pieces on the center console started flaking off, and then, less than two weeks ago, the damn transmission failed while I was 75 miles from home. It had to be towed to the dealer and rebuilt. This, is all on a pampered 2006 Mercedes with only 63,000 miles on it! My 1982 300D has its original transmission with 268,000 on it, and beyond needing a new paint job, it still runs and drives beautifully. I would trust it on a long trip much more than the E350, which reminds me more of a domestic made car, rather than a German sedan with a foundation built on quality. The last true Mercedes, which I regretfully sold in order to buy this newer E350, was a 1990 300E. It still possessed the feel, the quality, the reliability, and the ride, that instilled confidence. You knew when you drove it that it was the next progressive step in the auto makers idea of building and improving upon its past examples. These newer models, since the mid-1990's, look great but are very different machines. They seem to reflect perfectly a different focus and mindset at Mercedes Benz, which frankly, is more Chrysler-ish than Benz-like. My impression of the E350 is that it's a nice driving car on the highway, but it is fragile. The ride is solid, but it doesn't feel like a Mercedes anymore...and don't dare take it down a dirt road, believe me, it isn't built for it! There is less road feel in the steering compared to previous models. Also, the older models had a solid "THUNK" sound to the doors as they shut, which was an wonderful audible example of Mercedes build quality. That solid sound of quality helped foster descriptive terms, such as "tank" and "vault-like". When was the last time you heard either of those terms associated with a modern Mercedes? And, have you heard the door close on a new E-class lately? A Buick sounds more solid. When my warranty expires in 2013, I will probably look to buy another brand of automobile. That is a hard decision considering my loyalty and fascination with Mercedes Benz vehicles since the tender age of 14, but they are not the same cars anymore, hence my decision to keep the old 300D indefinitely. I think you folks who have only recently become Mercedes owners would learn a lot about Mercedes quality if you could spend some time in a pristine 560SEL, or an older 300SEL, or even a lowly 300D from the early 1980's. I think it would do the folks at Mercedes Benz some good to do that as well.

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